Anywhere but Here
Laughter rang through the air like a morning church bell sounding, singing it's song to it's fellow Sunday gatherers. However, this was not a typical Sunday morning; quite the contrary. It was a busy, Friday night in New York City. The streets were bustling with couples who'd just left the theater with their significant others and heading into the town's restaurants and coffee shops. A trio of people were leaving the theater together, two males and a female. The taller of the two males, with a head of light brown hair, was laughing while the shorter of the two was complaining loudly, followed by a soft, amused giggle issuing from the female.
"C'mon Al, that movie was the most riduclous thing I've ever seen in my life!" bemoaned the shorter man with a long, blonde ponytail cascading down his back. He raised his white, gloved hands and brushed his long, golden bangs from his amber eyes. "Too damn sappy if you ask me. It's so cliche'! I mean man meets woman, man falls in love with woman, man goes out on a dangerous mission, woman chases after him, woman dies in the process leaving the man to wallow in grief. I mean who in the hell writes this stuff, and who in the hell gets into these ridiculous romance stories anyway?" he questioned arrogantly.
"Just because you're not a romantic, Brother, doesn't mean that we're not!" retorted the younger boy walking next to him.
"Alphonse is right, Edward," chimed in another voice, a woman with long, brunet locks, walking next to the younger Elric brother. "I quite enjoyed the movie myself. Thank you for the handkerchief, Al," Noah added with a blush.
"Ah, it's no problem. There probably wasn't a dry eye from any woman after that movie," the younger Elric replied, rubbing the back of his head, a blush rising on his cheeks. Edward scoffed and Alphonse glanced over at his brother, rolling his eyes. "Besides, it was a nice break from trying to constantly chase down these things you call like to call lethal weapons, Brother," Alphonse Elric added as he placed his arms behind his head while walking down the road.
"It's been so nice to actually be able to go places and not get yelled at or belittled for a change," Noah stated cheerfully as she walked in-step with Alphonse. "I mean atleast in America I'm not constantly have somebody yelling 'gypsy' at me or saying I'm trying to swindle them."
She was forever grateful they'd been brought to America. Edward had insisted, wanting to get his brother out of the dangers of the Nazi's parading around Germany. This had been decided almost immediately when Edward had nearly lost his brother once more. A bomb had exploded not too far from where they lived. Alphonse had been outside with the cats when it happened. The only injuries he'd really sustained were some burns on his left leg; nothing that couldn't be taken care of with regular doctoring, but the elder Elric wasn't taking any chances. It was then that the older brother knew if they continued to live their lives like this he could really lose his little brother for good, and Edward Elric was not about to let that happen again. So only mere days later, had the trio boarded a ship that would take them across the Atlantic Ocean to a country called America.
There, Edward and Alphonse had taken to continue studying rocketry and worked in a decent-sized lab on the outskirts of the bigger part of the city. The lab was within a very well known company. The boys had met a few scientists where they worked together daily, studying uses of fuel mixtures, substances and many things that Noah couldn't quite comprehend. She just smiled jovially while she listened to the boys carry on at the dinner table about what new foundations they'd explored. However, any news of anything destructive action sent Edward and his brother out for speculation and extermination of whatever type of mortal weaponry there was, of course leaving Noah to worry about them, but she always greeted the boys with a warm smile when they came home safe and sound. Yes, those were the busy lives of the famous Elric brothers. Nearly everyone knew them by name in New York City and their recent discoveries for different types of engine fuel. While the boys were busy with their everyday lives, Noah kept herself busy in their nice-sized apartment complex the three shared, keeping the place clean, buying the groceries, doing the laundry and making sure warm food was on the table when the boys got home from work. It almost felt like a mother's work at times.
The gyspy woman gently brushed back her long, dark locks off her shoulders and smiled up at the younger Elric brother. They were the same age, 18 years old and the elder brother, Edward was 19. It had been a year since the brothers had attempted to destroy the gate. It had been extremely difficult at that point in time, especially without the use of alchemy, but they were almost certain they'd managed it. Atleast nobody was trying to break through and get on the other side to destroy Edward and Alphonse's real home anymore, and as far as the Elric brothers were concerned, that was all that mattered. For the last year, before coming to America, they'd been journeying together, trying to stop the uses of any types of atomic bombs that could set the world in disarray. During their journey, the trio had barely taken the time to just stop and enjoy themselves, but Edward had noticed something about his brother and Noah. It seemed as though the two were growing small affections for one another. At first, the blonde had been a little jealous he had to admit, but it wasn't for long. He wanted a girl too, but not just any girl. It was that day when he'd left Amestris forever, had he realized that Noah wasn't the woman for him. The woman for him was another world away.
Edward inaudibly sighed as he held out his right arm, studying his metal automail arm and flexed his fingers underneath the glove and twisted the forearm under his sleeve. It had been one year since he'd managed to get his automail back, one year since he'd seen her and went through the painful reattachments of the automail, hearing her soothing tones as she carried through the motions. It had also been one year since he saw her glistening blue eyes, felt her soft arms thrown around his neck when she saw him again for the first time in two years, felt her warm tears touch his skin as she hugged him close, seen that she had saved his automail limbs for the just-in-case, and saw her pretty smile. Edward flexed the steel once more, trying not to allow his brother or Noah to notice.
It had been feeling a little stiff lately and when they got home, Ed made a mental note to make sure he performed some regular maintenance on it, oiling it up, checking the bolts and such, though it was nothing compared to her handiwork. Noah and Al's voices drowned out as the three walked on, Edward finding himself lost in his thoughts. Winry...It's been a year now. I'm trying to learn to do the maintenance on my automail by myself but it's still hard taking care of it without your help. I remember a lot of how you did things back when I watched you take care of it for me, but my skills are nowhere near as engineered as yours. I wish...you were here, or maybe I wish I were there. Do I really belong here? It's been 3 years since the gate brought me to the other side and I still can't make this place feel like home.
"Brother? Did you hear us? Earth to Brother! Hey Ed!" came Alphonse's voice, loud and brash right next to the young man's ear.
"Huh, what?" Edward questioned, finding himself back in reality once more and he stared over at his younger brother. "Sorry about that," he blushed scratching the side of his head. "I was just thinking."
Noah laughed and Al joined in while Ed just stood with an embarrassed grin on his face. "It's alright, Brother," he replied, the laughter still in his tones. "Noah and I were just talking about stopping off and grabbing some coffees and going to Central Park to watch the stars for awhile. We haven't done that in a long time."
"Hmmm, coffee? Stars? Yeah, sounds nice," Ed replied, still not completely registering what his brother had said. He was still thinking about the girl he'd left over a year ago. Winry and her long blonde hair that hung down her back, the determination always held in her beautiful blue irises whenever working on his automail, the sweet tones in her voice when it came time for reattachment or whenever she'd try to ease the burdens of his guilt back when Alphonse was just a soul attatched to a suit of armor and the fiesty, stubborness whenever Edward would break his automail. He could almost hear the sound of her voice yelling at him and found himself nearly wanting to protect his head from a flying wrench, when he heard it.
"You're such an idiot!" cried out the familiar voice. "I told you not to do that, but you still insist on it anyway!"
The older Elric gasped, turning around swiftly through the crowd of people, his golden eyes darting back and forth, scanning the area to try and catch a glimpse of the face he'd heard that voice come from. He didn't see what he wanted to see; just the backs of people walking away from him when his eyes caught a glimpse of blonde. Could it be? That light, blonde, bouncing ponytail. Could it really, possibly be her? Edward did a double-take and it was gone as quick as he'd seen it. The voices in the crowd seemed much more audible as well and he'd lost the sound of her voice.
"Winry?" Ed spoke so softly that nobody had heard him, but Noah and Alphonse had quickly noticed that he'd stopped. They both turned around, slightly confused by the young man's abrupt movement. Edward continued trying to fight his way through the crowd using his eyes, hoping to catch her again, but to no avail. The girl had already disappeared. "Damn," he whispered, placing his palm on his forehead, his slender fingers snaking through his blonde bangs.
"Brother? What is it?" Al and Noah were both staring at the back of Edward's head with concern held in their gazes.
"Huh? Oh, it's nothing," the young man replied, shaking his blonde head and turning back towards his brother and Noah with a bemused smile on his face.
"That's not true, Brother," Al began sternly, staring his brother down. "What is it? What did you see?"
Noah began to take a step forward, lifting a hand instinctively to place it on Edward's shoulder, but he backed away, knowing full and well what she'd see if he did. "I said it's nothing!" he snapped. "Just forget about it alright?" Edward didn't want Noah or his younger brother to know he still suffered from homesickness of his days back in Amestris. "Now, how about that coffee?" he asked, pulling on the most dazzling smile he could manage, but the truth was was that Ed felt troubled and somewhat upset.
He'd hold up this front until they made it home. Then atleast he could lock himself up, stay alone in his room and wallow in his thoughts of who that woman was and why the voice was so strikingly familiar. Though maybe it had been his imagination because of his longing desire to hear her voice, see her pretty face with her bright blue eyes lightening up. Maybe because he never got to tell her what he wanted to tell her before he left that's why his mind was possibly playing tricks on him. Things had been happening all too fast for his own liking, but it was a now or never decision.
The trio approached one of smaller, refined coffee shops and Edward stood outside leaning against a thin pole while his brother went inside and ordered the beverages to go. Noah stood across from him, observing him carefully. Ed had closed his golden orbs, and he sighed softly. As he and Noah stood outside waiting for Alphonse to order their drinks, a very vibrant image flashed right before Noah's mind. She saw somebody standing next to Edward. The gypsy woman's brown eyes widened, and then she quickly turned away before Edward caught her staring at him. She had unmistakingly seen somebody there...a young woman with long blonde hair. She'd gotten an eyefull of her. She disappeared from Noah's eyes, but she'd seen her long enough to take in her full appearance. Edward opened his eyes, just as Noah turned away. He'd felt the gypsy staring at him and wondered why. He titled his head slightly and looked at Noah curiously, wondering what she'd seen.
"Noah? Something wrong?" he questioned, his arms folded over his chest as he continued to lean his full weight into the pole.
"What? N-no, it's nothing," she stammered, turning her gaze away from Edward's confused expression.
"C'mon now Noah, how long have we been friends now? A year? I know you better than that and I also know you're a clairvoyant woman, so what did you see?" the young blonde urged.
"Oh, nothing out of ordinary," lied Noah.
Edward was about to open his mouth in protest when he saw Al coming out of the coffee shop, trying to juggle three cups of hot, frothy liquid in his hands. "Alright Brother! Mocha for you, regular coffee for Noah and black coffee for me!" the young man mused as he handed the drinks over to the others. "These will help us warm up a bit. It is starting to get chilly at night." He grinned and stared back and forth at them before quickly picking up the vibes that something was amiss. Alphonse's brown eyebrows furrowed and the trace of euphoria left his face. The young Elric glanced at his brother, noticing that Edward looked greatly bothered by something.
"Brother? What is it? You've been acting strange since we left the theater," the younger brother pointed out. "If you don't tell us what's wrong, I'm going to dump this hot coffee all over you."
"Oh c'mon Al, does there always have to be something wrong with me?" Edward inquired, rolling his amber orbs. "I was just thinking about a mixture back at the lab I was testing on Friday. I wondered if I added a wrong ingredient to the formula before I left yesterday, but I'm sure it'll be fine until I can get back and see what I did wrong. That's the only thing that I've been thinking about. Don't worry so much," he added with another one of his playful, toothy grins.
"I'm sorry, Brother," apologized Alphonse. "I just noticed you looked...distracted is all."
"Ah, that's alright Al. C'mon! Let's go to Central Park and watch the stars like we planned," the blonde beckoned the two, waving his hand towards them to follow him.
Edward turned away from others, his long ponytail flying out from behind him and led the way to the park. As he sipped on the hot mocha, he dissolved himself in thought once more and secretly hoped that Alphonse bought his lie. As for Noah, well he knew nothing would get past her, but she was saint enough to keep anything she may have saw to herself, that much he was almost certain of. His brother didn't press him for anymore information and the former state alchemist was thoroughly grateful. Though if it had been Mustang accompanying them, the General would have given him hell and he knew it. Edward could just hear his voice in his head.
"Oh, come off it Fullmetal and stop wallowing in your self-pity. It was your choice to return to that world and leave everyone behind here, so why the hell are you regretting it now? Get your act together, Fullmetal or I'll put it together for you."
Edward grit his teeth together harshly, nearly wanting to growl at the General, but Mustang wasn't even there. He snorted softly to himself as he clutched his cup of warm mocha in his metal, gloved hand. Am I really this nostalgic? That's probably exactly what Roy Mustang would have said to him and truth be told, no matter how much Ed didn't want to believe it, the General was indefinantly right. He had chosen to leave her behind...no he didn't chose to, he had no choice. If he didn't return to the other side of the gate and destroy it, there were chances that Winry would be in danger. People from this world would be just as crazy Dietlinde Eckhart had been, or maybe even worse. It was unfathomable. He didn't even want to think about it. She had told Edward she feared their world and wanted to destroy what she didn't understand, what she was afraid of. So, how would that be any different from anybody else who knew about it and possibly feared it? Edward had done it to protect Winry, keep her safe along with everyone else back in Amestris that he loved and cared for.
The trio finally reached the giant park and picked a spot clear of trees so they could see the sky. Star gazing had always been one of Edward and Alphonse's favorite past times. Alphonse and Noah took a seat on a wooden bench, gazing up at the sky while Edward spread his coat out on the ground, plopped down on top of it, and fell back with his arms folded behind his head, his left leg bent at the knee and his right leg resting on top of it. He stared up at the twinkling stars, winking down him and studied them for awhile. He could remember back in Risembool he, Winry and Al would stay outside late at night when they were just kids and watch the stars together. Winry always got excited and would try to trace the constellations with her fingertip, keeping one eye closed tightly and the other open. She would stick her little tongue out of her mouth, pressing down on it with her lips as if concentrating so hard her little brain might explode. Edward snickered to himself as the memories flooded back into his mind.
"What's so funny, Brother?" Alphonse questioned, bringing Edward out of his sentiments.
"Ah, nothin' much. Just thinking back to when we were kids. We used to go outside all the time and watch the stars. Me, you and Winry," Edward rambled on. "I can remember, Winry used to try and trace the constellations. She'd concentrate so hard sometimes her face would turn red," the former alchemist laughed.
"Haha, yeah! I forgot about that. Winry always was the silliest one of us, wasn't she? She did love tracing the constellations. I can remember she used to stick her tongue out too," the younger Elric laughed. "Do you remember that time when we got all busted up by Scar. We went back to Risembool, Winry fixed you up and then you fixed me? That night, we watched the stars together. Winry was laying next to you, Brother, 15 years old and making that exact same face trying to trace the constellations, just like she did when she was a little girl."
"Winry was your childhood friend, right?" Noah questioned softly, holding her empty cup in her lap and gazing down at Edward. She wondered if Winry was the same woman she'd seen standing beside him in front of the coffee shop.
"Yeah she was," Ed stated softly, rolling over onto his side and propping his head up with his elbow placed firmly in the ground, turned away from the other two. The memory of the tree being together four years ago, flashed fresh within Ed's mind and he saw Winry's smiling face turn towards him as the three lay in the grass together. Edward had felt terrible at yelling at Winry for taking his pocket watch and seeing what was engraved inside of it, so he took her star gazing that night. That night, if Al hadn't been around...what would Edward have done? He remembered he wanted to hug her, hold her and maybe even kiss her. Just the mere thought had brought a blush onto the boy's cheeks, which at that time he was grateful it had been dark out and neither his brother nor Winry would have been able to tell he was blushing. Why was this memory upsetting him so much?
Edward toyed with the thin blades of grass in between his gloved thumb and forefinger. Every since he had arrived in this world, he'd never even spoke of Winry, to anyone. It was too painful to talk about her and even now he was finding it hard to discuss her. Why did he even have to bring her up in the first place? Why did all have to bring up the last time they watched the stars together? Why did he have to hear her voice tonight or see that blonde hair that so resembled his Winry's? The young man was almost positive he hadn't been imagining things. There was just no way. It had all seemed entirely too real and he had seen the back of the girl's head for goodness sake. Was it possible that there was another woman in this world that resembled Winry? But wait...if that were so, then that could mean that the Winry in the other world was possibly...No! No, Edward couldn't think like that. How could anything dangerous happen to her anyway? Wasn't she living safely in Risembool with Granny Pinako and Den? She had to of been. Nothing could have happened to Winry. She was too special and too sweet for anything to happen to her.
Alphonse could tell this was greatly bothering his brother and so he didn't say anything more. He just gave Noah a conspicuous look, warning her with his eyes not to say anything. If anybody knew his brother, it was Al and just from Ed's body language he could tell this was upsetting his brother, but he also felt that Edward was keeping something hidden from him. Al shrugged it off, knowing that if he needed to talk later, the older Elric would come to him and talk. In the meantime, it was best neither himself nor Noah should press Edward with the matter. Alphonse stood and stretched, faking a yawn.
"Well, it's getting late, don't you think? Maybe we should be heading back to the apartment and get some rest?" he suggested and lowered his arms to his side.
Edward stood up, gathering his coat in his arms. He hadn't heard a word his brother said. All of this was really beginning to get to him and he needed to get away. He needed time to think and quiet. "I'm going to head back," the blonde told the two, still continuing to keep his back turned towards them. "You guys don't need to worry about going back now if you don't want. If you wanna hang out a little while longer, that's fine."
"Okay, but Ed-," Alphonse began, but was cut off by his brother.
"I'm just tired. I want to get some sleep. See you guys tomorrow!" he told them in the most convincing, cheerful voice he could muster before picking up his feet and running across the park, past some trees and out of sight.
Noah and Alphonse just stared at each other for a moment before the younger Elric dropped back down next to her on the bench, his entire face contorted with worry and confusion. "I wonder what that was all about? Brother has been acting very strange...did you notice that, Noah?"
Noah nodded her dark head, staring at the place where Ed had been laying. "Alphonse, I saw someone," she admitted softly. "I didn't want to say anything with Edward here, but I saw this person twice now next to him."
"You saw somebody?" Al asked, gazing curiously at the gypsy. "Who did you see?"
"A woman. She had, long blonde hair. It hung down both sides of her face and the back of it was tied up. She had on a brown jacket with a white, collared shirt underneath it and some strange pants that only stopped at just above her knees. She looked like she was carrying a heavy-looking suitcase and it was strapped over her shoulder. It was clear as day, but I only saw her long enough to take in her appearance and then she was gone. The first time I saw her, she was standing next to Edward just outside of the coffee shop while we were waiting for you," the brunette told him. She brushed back one of her braids and continued. "And just before Edward got up, I saw her again, only this time she was laying next to him, and she was wearing different clothing. She had a red bandanna tied around her head, what looked like a purple pair of pants and a strange black top that exposed her stomach. Is that woman-," Noah began, but Alphonse finished for her.
"Winry...yeah, that's Winry you just described. Noah, do you mean that...has brother been thinking about her?" the young man questioned.
"I think...that every since you guys came back from the other side of the gate, Edward has been thinking about her a lot," Noah sighed, looking down at her hands. "I thought...well, I thought maybe Edward had feelings for me, but after he returned, he just didn't seem like himself," the girl admitted. "I mean, I'm not upset or anything, well...I was at first, but I'm okay now. I used to see very hazy images of somebody with blonde hair next to him, but I could never tell just who it was. Now I understand."
"Noah," Alphonse began, placing a hand over hers. "Brother and Winry...they've always been, very close. We used to tease Brother all the time back when they were younger about Winry being his girlfriend and he'd get all embarrassed and protest against it, but whenever he needed her, Winry was always right by his side, taking care of him or just being his pillar in a hard place. I've always thought Ed and Winry had feelings for each other. I guess this confirms it, huh?"
"Hmmm," Noah hummed, followed by a small giggle. "Yes, I suppose so. I just feel badly for Edward. I know he'd probably get very angry if I said this, but I sensed sadness radiating from him while we were at the coffee shop and just now. I think, all that talk about Winry was upsetting him a lot. Maybe he just needs some time to cool down and time to himself. We'll stay here a little longer so he can be alone and then we can head back. Is that okay, Alphonse?" the gypsy asked, her dark eyes sparkling in the moonlight.
"I'd like nothing more, Noah," Al replied, still keeping his hand over Noah's. The two smiled at each other and continued to watch the sky, though both of their thoughts lingered on Edward and his current state.
Edward finally approached the apartment complex, out of breath from running, but he wasn't about to stop until he reached their door and was inside. He continued to spring, his coat tucked under his arm and he ran up a set of stairs leading to their flat. He shoved his hand into his pocket and dug out the apartment key. He stuck the golden appendage into the lock, unlocked the door, stepped inside and slammed it shut behind him. He was breathing heavily from his dash from Central Park back to their apartment. Edward fell back against the door, squeezing his golden eyes closed and trying to catch his breath. Why was this affecting him so much? Why was he getting so upset? He clenched his gloved hands into fists and grit his teeth together, slamming his left fist back against the door. Edward opened his eyes and glancied around the dark room. He walked through the kitchen and down a small hallway, leading to the three, individual rooms in the place. He found his door, opened it up and shut it behind him, flipping the lock to make sure that when Alphonse and Noah returned, they wouldn't bother him. He didn't even feel like talking to his little brother about this at all.
Ed walked across his room, stripping off his gloves, laying his coat over a chair and stood at the table in front of it. There was a closed bottle of wine and a small, empty glass sitting there on a silver platter that some of his co-workers had given him a few weeks back, but Edward had never bothered to open it. The blonde decided he'd atleast have a drink to calm his shaken nerves. What was bothering him most as that he was almost positive he'd seen and heard a doppleganger of Winry. If that were the case, Winry could possibly be dead in the other world. The former alchemist didn't want to think of anything such as that. It wasn't possible. Winry couldn't be dead. She just couldn't. What could she be doing though?
The older Elric paced the room before stopping in front of the table once more. He grabbed the bottle of wine, popped the cork and poured a glass. Ed took a few sips of it, calming his nerves and turned to stare at the wall behind him. It was covered with a dark, blue curtain to match the bed clothes on his bed. The blonde approached the curtain and pulled it back, staring at was littered across the atramentous wall. There were paintings, all of them concealed in a frame of their own. This was something he'd always kept to himself; he'd never even shown it to Alphonse.
Whenever he was alone, Edward had taken a new hobby and that was painting. When he was younger, he'd had some drawing skills, but nothing to brag about. However coming into this world, he'd found his art skills had picked up quite a few notches then what they had back in Amestris. Edward had painted a picture of his sensei, Izumi Curtis, whom he had soon discovered, not long after he and Al had tried to destroy the gate, died. Alphonse had told him the heart-shattering news. Edward sort of looked at Izumi as a mother-figure at times, so it was somewhat hard to except her death, though he knew it was inevitable. Izumi had lost her insides trying to perform the biggest taboo in alchemy, Human Transmutation. She'd tried to bring her still-born child back and in the process had to pay the price, just like he and his brother did. She'd lost quite a bit of her organs and quite often she coughed and vomited blood, especially if she was strongly provoked.
Edward had been beside himself at the news of his teacher's death and in his grief painted a picture of her, held fast to the wall by a dark green, rectangular frame. He'd also painted a picture Granny Pinako and one of General Roy Mustang. Though no matter how much he complained about Mustang, there were times where Ed had looked to him as an almost father-figure back when he was a state alchemist, a 12 year old kid in the beginning and 16 at the end. Roy certainly had tormented him enough like a father would their son. He smirked as he stared at his handiwork, hanging in a deep gray frame on the wall. Underneath each portrait on their frames, Edward had painted their names in gold. Roy had lost his left eye during the fight between himself and Pride years ago. Edward had made sure to draw the eyepatch over the General's eye. He'd almost considered drawing one over his mouth just for laughs but decided against it.
As his eyes wandered across the wall, they came to rest on another portrait he'd done. A portrait of a beautiful blonde girl in a tan frame, with a red bandanna tied around her head, long blonde hair seeping out of the back of it and a silver wrench held in her hand. She was smiling and winking. Edward smiled at that one. That was one way he remembered Winry. If she didn't have a wrench in her hand then she was most likely eating or asleep. He scanned the wall, moving his golden orbs over to another portrait he'd done of her in a metallic-blue frame. Edward remembered how gentle her face had been at times whenever he needed comfort. This was one thing about her that he adored the most. Her blue eyes would soften and she would smile at him, uttering gentle words of comfort and care. It made Edward's heart warm at the thought of her and he could almost hear the sweet mechanic's voice in his head.
"I know you miss me, you silly goof. I miss you too, but don't worry! Everything will be fine, you'll see."
Edward smiled and sighed as he looked up at his most recent one, held fast in a round, lavendar frame. It was another painting of Winry, the way he'd last seen her. Right after she took care of his automail that he'd desperately needed a year ago, she had stared down at the ground, a saddened and sullen look on her face as though she knew what was coming; that she knew this was her last time to be with him. No matter what he did that image wouldn't go away from his mind and left him with a guitly conscience. The former alchemist had left her without so much as a goodbye, a hug or maybe even the kiss that he'd longed to give her now. Edward had only realized how strong her feelings were for her when it was too late. He sighed once more as he ran his fingertips over the painting of her. He had to pride himself on his work; it truly did look like his Winry. His Winry...hell he didn't even know if Winry was alive, or if maybe she'd found someone else. Just mere thought of his made his heart burn with anger and jealousy. He almost wished that now he hadn't destroyed the gate...that he could have brought Winry back with him and Al.
Ed laughed bitterly at himself. "Wasn't I just bitching about seeing a romantic, sappy-ass movie with Al and Noah? Here I am going all sappy myself over a girl. Damn I'm contradictory."
That shouldn't be his concern though. Besides, he was stuck here. This was home now. No matter how much it didn't feel like home in three years he'd lived here, it was home. Edward moved away from the paintings and sat down in the chair next to the table where he'd hung his coat. He raised the sleeve that hid his metal arm from the world and opened a small drawer in the table. He took another sip of wine and set the glass back down. Edward took out an oil can from the drawer that Winry had given him and squirted a few drops where the bolts felt stiff and uncomfortable. He flexed his fingers, twisted his forearm and felt the oil release some of the pressure that had been on his arm. He'd perform the needed maintenance on it tomorrow. It was just too late tonight, and he most likely wouldn't be able to concentrate on it. The last thing he wanted to do was screw up the job. Winry wasn't there anymore to help him fix up his automail anymore, and so it was up to him. Not being able to face his paintings of her anymore, Ed turned around in the chair, straddling it and folding his arms over the back of it. He rested his chin his hand and stared off across the room.
"Who was that woman I heard tonight? Could it really have been someone like Winry?" he questioned softly to himself.
He almost felt like he wanted to throw his coat back on and search the streets all over New York City in hopes to find her just so he could see her face once more, but Edward knew that was impossible. Instead he kicked off his shoes, walked across the room. He unbuttoned his vest, his white shirt and removed them, laying them in a pile on the floor. He removed the hairband from his ponytail and lay it on the small nightstand next to his bed. Edward picked up a brush and ran it through his long, golden locks, before putting back on the nightstand. Once he was done with that, the blonde flopped back onto his bed, emitting a big sigh. His head sunk into the pillow and he lifted his metal arm, studying it hard with an intense stare. He squinted at every single, tiny detail and design on the automail. His heart felt heavy.
"Winry...I miss you...I really do," Ed admitted before resting the cool automail across his forehead, closing his eyes. "I wonder if I made a mistake...closing the gate?" His question couldn't be answered. Edward lay in darkness for awhile before he heard the door opening to the apartment and the soft voices of his brother and Noah as the entered the premesis. Edward kept as quiet and still as possible, not wanting them to hear anything coming from his room. There was a gentle knock on his door, followed by his brother's voice.
"Hey Ed, you awake?" Al called from the other side of the door. Edward didn't respond. He didn't feel like talking tonight. He wanted to get as much rest as possible, for tomorrow he was going to pay a visit around the city and see if he could find this doppleganger and find out for certain if his mind had been playing tricks on him or not It would bug him and haunt him if he didn't. After a few moments, he heard Al's footsteps descend from his door and then the quiet closing of another door. Alphonse had retired to his room for the night and Ed was glad. It wasn't that he didn't trust his brother with everything he told him, it was just something he wasn't really ready to talk about yet. Ed raised his right, metal hand up towards the ceiling reaching, a somber look on his face. "Winry," he spoke softly in the stillness of his room.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the gate, in the world of Amestris, in a small place called Risembool, a girl with long blonde hair was laying in her bed, holding her hand up towards the ceiling as if wanting to reach for something. She had small trails of tears leaking out of the corners of her vibrant blue eyes. "Edward...," was the only word she whispered mournfully into the night.